Tales of new grandchildren and future presidents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2008

By Kevin Chiri

The wife and I are getting pretty familiar with the ride from here to Jefferson Highway in Metairie.

That just happens to be where we end up at Ochsner Hospital several times a week now, going to see our grandson number two, Jerry Scott Smith, III.

If you missed my news from a month ago, I had a pretty wild Christmas/New Year’s holiday when my daughter Chrissy suddenly delivered our second grandchild 12 weeks early. Since then, we are very thankful to say things couldn’t be going better in terms of Chrissy’s recovery from the preeclampsia condition she had, as well as to see little Jerry growing and getting stronger all the time.

He only weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces when he was born on December 23, but as of this past weekend he was a little over 3 pounds and getting bigger all the time.

He finally took a bottle on his own this past Saturday for the first time, and he is off all breathing assistance. The nurses who look after him continue to say he is doing remarkably well.

Of course I have now heard many stories from some of you who have told me about your own preemie situation, whether it be a grandchild, your own child, a niece or whoever. It’s amazing how many people have told me about similar situations they experienced, with babies born around 2 pounds, and all turning out to be just fine. So thanks for the encouragement, it’s all helpful.

Meanwhile, my wife is now getting to hold little Jerry, and like any good mom or grandmom, couldn’t be happier about it. She actually saw him on Sunday and held him for two hours, acting like she could have stayed for two hours more. I guess that’s the difference in moms and dads, right? As for me, I love the little fellow just fine, but guys are typically not so enthralled with babies as the women are. I like the kids when they get a little older, and can actually interact with you a little better. And I suppose that’s why I feel a much closer bond to my little Abby, who is now about 18 months.

So that’s just a little update for you. I get asked a lot about how the baby is doing, and we are quite thankful that things are going very well.

Have you been watching the presidential primaries much?

I can easily understand how tired people get with the presidential election every four years since it actually seems to begin a couple of years before the actual final vote eventually takes place.

But this current presidential race does appear to be a little more interesting than some in the past since there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about who our nominations will actually be.

One person who once again has a great amount of interest in the primaries is my buddy Danny Becnel.

Danny has been heavily involved in the presidential races for many years, evidenced by the many pictures in his office showing Danny with Bill Clinton, or Danny having his picture taken with Ronald Reagan, or Jimmy Carter, or you name it. If they were a high profile presidential candidate over the past 20 years, Danny has been to the White House for some kind of event and gotten his picture taken with them.

Right now Danny continues to assure me every time I see him that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Even as a Republican, I’m not arguing a lot with him on this one since I think he may actually be right.

But now Danny has one of his sons, Brad, just as involved with the race as he has been. Bradley Becnel is one of Hillary’s staff people in charge of advance scheduling, and has been on the campaign trail full-time with her staff since last fall.

On New Year’s Eve, Brad was with Hillary, Bill and Chelsea, then had to take former Vice President Walter Mondale all over Minneapolis for two days during a big snowstorm over the holiday. Those are just a couple of the things he has stayed busy with over the past few months.

Danny has been a major player in helping with fundraising efforts for various presidential candidates over the years, and is doing the same for Hillary now. He recently helped spearhead an event in New York City that was a winter summit that raised over $5 million.

If Hillary does win, you can expect to see Bradley get a staff position with the new Clinton administration since he has become such a key part of the effort to get her elected.

Of course there’s a long way to go until the election, what with Barack Obama trying to still get the Democratic nomination, then a pack of Republicans who aren’t so willing to give up the White House. But if you listen to Danny, it’s an open and shut case that we will be seeing our first female president.

Here is one of the most interesting bits of information I have heard in a while.

Have you ever been like me, and been driving a rented car, or someone else’s car, and suddenly needed to stop for gas, not knowing which side of the car the gas tank was on?

I’ve spent my entire 53 years always unsure which side of the car the gas tank was on when I was suddenly driving a new car, or one I wasn’t familiar with.

Well out of nowhere, my wife tells me that someone e-mailed her this weekend and told her something that maybe I’ve just been too ignorant to know, and maybe everyone else will laugh at me about.

I never knew that it shows you on your dashboard in the car, right on the little spot by your gas gauge, which side of the car the tank is on. There is usually a little picture of a gas pump of some kind, and there is some kind of marking showing which side the pump comes out, that coincides with which side of the car your gas tank is on.

Did you know that?

Now I’ll probably have everyone in the world tell me that they all knew that, and I’ll be the only dummy around.

But I’m admitting that my wife just informed me about that this weekend, and I felt like I had won the lottery or something. I guess you’re never too old to learn something new.

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at kchiri@bellsouth.net